The Missing Ingredient for Digital Modernization Success? People

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I wasn’t surprised to read a joint study by MIT and Deloitte found that the key differentiator between companies that achieve successful digital transformation and those who don’t is a culture where leaders and employees embrace change.

Digital technologies provide the potential for efficiency gains and customer intimacy, but it is people who fulfill that potential. Successful projects deliberately focus on changing the mindset and behavior of employees at every level of the organization.

Last year, organizations spent over $1.3 trillion on digital modernization efforts, and a majority of it (about $900 billion) went to waste. Among Forbes Global 2000 companies, 84% failed to achieve an effective digital transformation. No wonder a recent survey of directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation risk is their number one concern in 2019.

Position your organization for digital modernization success with culture that supports a digital mindset among all employees. Here are six factors to help you get into the modernization mindset:

The Modernization Mindset: Creating a Culture that Embraces Change

  1. Focus on the Why, not the What.
    It’s not enough to tell people that a digital transformation is coming. They need to understand why it must occur and how it can make their work lives more efficient and productive.
  2. Find Your Unofficial Leaders and Listen to Them.
    Every company has “authentic unofficial leaders,” people at every level who are already demonstrating the behaviors you need for modernization because they believe in the new direction. They can tell you about the readiness of your organization to change, the places where resistance will occur, and the magnitude of effort required to overcome resistance.
  3. Anticipate Stumbling Blocks ….
    Set your people up for success by considering what they will need from the new IT systems to be productive. What technical skills do they already have and what do they need to develop? How will their jobs change as a result of the new technology? Do they have concerns or qualms that have not been addressed?
  4. …And Remove Them Before Anyone Stumbles
    Armed with what you learned in the step above, you can determine the type of training, support, recruitment, and workforce changes your people will need to be successful.
  5. Engage and Empower Users.
    Engage users of the new technology and encourage them to play an active role in the implementation effort. By allowing users to be actively involved in the process, they’ll be more invested in the outcome.
  6. Communication Should Be Transparent and Two-Way.
    Openly address employees’ questions and concerns regularly. To ensure that all voices are heard, involve all departments and use different contexts—one-on-meetings, team discussions, and town hall meetings. Be transparent about progress as well, share regular updates, celebrate wins, and give praise where praise is due.
“Technology is definitely a part of digital transformation, but unless leaders can ‘win hearts and minds’ throughout the process, efforts can stall or be less successful than they could be.”
Carey Oven
Deloitte & Touche, LLP

Is Cultural Alignment the Secret to Successful Digital Modernization?

In the four years I’ve worked with specialty pharmacies, I would argue that the most challenging aspect of a digital modernization is changing the mindset of the individuals in an organization – it is often overlooked and underappreciated.

Understanding what to get right — the elements of your IT system necessary to reach your functional goals — is essential. Knowing how to get it right — how to plan, sequence, invest, and engage the company around your technological modernization — is even more important.

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